Seoul has pardoned former president Lee Myung-bak


South KoreaSeoul has pardoned former president Lee Myung-bak

The president pardoned former South Korean President Lee Myung-bak, reducing his 17-year prison sentence on corruption charges.

Lee Myung-bak (left) arrives at a Seoul court for a hearing in 2018.


Former South Korean President Lee Myung-bak, jailed for corruption, pardoned by Seoul. Mr Lee is on a list of more than 1,300 people granted special pardons “in the perspective of broader national unity through harmony, tolerance and respect”, Justice Minister Han Dong-hoon told reporters after the ministerial meeting. President Yoon Suk-yeol.

The 81-year-old former head of state, who was released on bail in June due to his age and chronic illnesses, was serving a 17-year prison sentence for corruption and fraud. It was a life sentence, as he would not be released until 2036, when he would be 95 years old. The former Hyundai CEO-turned-chairman was indicted on 16 charges in 2018 and sentenced in 2020.

Mr Lee was found guilty of setting up multimillion-dollar slush funds and accepting bribes from Samsung Electronics in exchange for a presidential pardon for group CEO Lee Kun-hee, and was later jailed for tax evasion.

President from 2008 to 2013

A “self-made man” who was appointed chairman of a major construction company at the age of 35 before entering politics, Lee Myung-bak served as president from 2008 to 2013. He led the country through the global financial crisis and championed Seoul’s bid. 2018 Winter Olympics, but has been criticized by opponents as undermining the country’s democratic standards and freedom of speech.

The new round of presidential pardons, which will take effect at midnight on Wednesday, will be Yoon Suk-yeol’s second in office since taking office in May. In August, the de facto chairman of Samsung Electronics, Lee Jae-yong, son of Lee Kun-hee, was one of the beneficiaries of the first amnesty. Mr. Presented by Yoon.

In South Korea, heads of state are imprisoned once they leave power, often following a political transition. Chun Doo-hwan And Roh Tae-woo, jailed for corruption and treason in the 1990s, was granted amnesty after two years in prison after leaving the highest government offices. Mr Lee’s successor, Park Geun-hye, was pardoned last year after serving a 20-year prison sentence for corruption and abuse of power.


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